So much more than just a 5k run

Colin Ratcliffe recently took on the mantle of RTW parkrun Event Director, so we thought it timely to find out a bit more about what makes him tick and his thoughts on matters parkrun. Richard from our Comms Team met up with Colin to find our more…

How did how did the parkrunning begin? Colin took up running somewhat over three years ago after his wife bought him a Garmin watch for Christmas. When Colin noticed a colleague at work with the same watch the conversation went from running to parkrun. After a couple of training runs, Colin took the parkrun plunge in Feb 2016 (although he confesses that he forgot his barcode on his first attendance!). It was a very wet end to the winter – our numbers were quite low at that point and Quagmire Corner was at its worst. But, despite this, Colin was rapidly hooked. Why was that? “I really liked the welcoming atmosphere of the whole event, the friendliness of the regular volunteer team and the chance to relax over a coffee afterwards. I found there was so much more to parkrun than just a 5k run.”

While experiencing an injury layoff Colin became increasing involved in the volunteering side of things, “I enjoyed helping out at an event that obviously meant so much to so many people.” Later, when he heard that Joe was stepping down, he decided to put his name forward for consideration.

What’s Colin’s favourite volunteering role? “I get a lot of satisfaction from being a pacer – it’s a good feeling if I can finish at or within a second or two of the time. Also I like number checking – the challenge here is trying to keep on top of any discrepancies between the number of clicks of the timers on the finish line and the number of finish tokens handed out at the other end of the finishing funnel.” Colin is keen to learn to keep Joe’s cool demeanour, staying calm and focussed when the numbers start diverging – for example when someone “ducks out” of the finish funnel before taking a token.

Colin enjoying his 5k - whatever the season
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Colin says he is happy parkrunning whatever the season, including when it’s muddy – although he’s not quite so keen if the mud is very sticky! “So far in 111 parkruns in Dunorlan Park I’ve never had to run in heavy rain”. When the heavens did open in September last year Colin was in Leeds, helping his daughter move into university halls.

"If on the day you're feeling a little green...." Fortunately, a slightly off-colour appearance was not enough to prevent Colin pacing 28 minutes at our Halloween 2017 pacer special day!
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Any practical tips for parkrunners? “Do be sensible about parkrunning. If on the day you’re feeling unwell consider something other than running. We can always find a volunteering role. Also from personal experience I can say that trying to keep running when you’re nursing a leg injury is probably not a good idea!” Who remembers Colin’s clear announcement when he tore a tendon at the finish line a few years ago because he tried a sprint finish after hobbling around most of the course?

If he could magically create a parkrun anywhere in the world he would choose to have one in Munich’s Ostpark (near where his in-laws live.) The paths there would make a perfect venue.

Anything particularly unusual that’s happened to him away from parkrun? “On honeymoon in 1992, we found ourselves acting as a human shield for Yasser Arafat, then leader of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) and wanted for supporting Sadam Hussain’s invasion of Kuwait. Without announcement our unmarked flight from Cairo to Amman was diverted to a military base in Jordan where King Hussain of Jordan was standing at the end of a red carpet to welcome the fugitive.” Also, while working as an auditor at the National Audit Office, in the wake of financial crash, he discovered evidence of £60 billion of secret loans from the Bank of England to HBOS and RBS. This information was not in the public domain at the time – and the story made the front page of the FT when news of the vast loans eventually came out in advance of Colin’s published report.

Ambitions for parkrun…

Colin is hoping that RTW parkrun can continue to promote a really inclusive approach drawing in anyone who could benefit from the parkrun experience. “It’s absolutely fine by me if our overall average finishing time gets slower. That’s likely to be an indication that we are appealing to a wide cross section of our community.” Likewise, he would love to see some local GP practices become designated as parkrun practices and linked to our parkrun to encourage patients - and staff - to experience both the physical and mental benefits of parkrun.

He’s particularly hoping we can widen our volunteer base. “There will be people who for health reasons wouldn’t necessarily be able to get round our 5k course. But it may well be they could be part of the volunteer team and experience the buzz of being involved and really be appreciated for their contribution.”

Attention to detail gets the numbers to add up...... Marshals ... "a reassuring presence"
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Warming to the theme, Colin says he would encourage all our parkrunners to think how we can each contribute to making parkrun safe, enjoyable and fun – and what we can do to be responsible users of Dunorlan Park. So he would encourage those who parkrun regularly to think whether they might have a week off from running (for example one week in ten) and volunteer for a non-running role such as marshalling. “I see the role of marshal as very important. Marshals not only cheer on runners but provide a valuable role in summoning help if there is an incident. Marshals also provide a reassuring presence to other park users, indicating that we are acting responsibly."

"Pull up a chair and join in" Colin (right) enjoying some post parkrun relaxation and happiness in the cafe
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Finally, a tip: “If you meet a first timer or a parkrun tourist why not arrange to meet up for a coffee afterwards. I’d love to see more parkrunners staying on afterwards for refreshments and a chat in the café. The social side is important. I’ve really enjoyed having a good group of parkrunners, who have become friends, to chat with after the run. It’s a great way to make new friends, even when they turn up at your house and spill red wine on your beige carpet. Just look out for us, pull up a chair and join in.”

 

#Teamparkrun

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event 213
18 August 2018

Written by Louise Fitzgerald with photos by Sofia Baguley (SB) and Richard Woodfield (RW)

Thankfully I woke to a much cooler day than we have seen at recent parkruns, and much more favourable conditions for the runners and volunteers than of late. It was also welcome conditions for an extra special volunteer this week – 2014 Commonwealth Judo bronze medallist Jemima Yeats-Brown. Jemima joined us as part of the #teamparkrun initiative, running from Saturday 18th August to Sunday 9th September, when the UK's National Lottery funded Olympic and Paralympic athletes are teaming up with parkrun to encourage the nation to get active by volunteering as tail walkers. I was especially privileged to have the opportunity to tail walk the 5km route with Jemima and to get to know her a little better.

But before the run could commence, we were briefed by Event Director and this week's Run Director, Joe Watts. Joe was assisted by fellow volunteer Mark Dennison, who many of you will recognise from his regular marshalling spot on the opposite side of the lake. Mark was shadowing Joe this week as he is currently in training to be our newest Run Director. Welcome to the team Mark – we know you will be great! Joe announced that Dominic Frankel had joined the junior 10 parkruns club, while Mike Cardall had joined the 50 club. Well done both!

Joe and Mark ready for action ............................. Gloria out on marshalling duties (RW)
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Among the announcements was a reminder about the social evening that night, and which I hear was a booming success, though sadly I was unable to make it myself. RTW parkrun social evenings are a great way to get to know fellow runners and volunteers outside of parkrun and to enjoy a drink or two with them while you get to know them better. I can highly recommend them. The run set off just after 9am when 236 runners swarmed down the hill to get things moving.

Out over the wooden bridge.... (SB)
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Darren (pictured) wrote on Facebook "Thanks for such a lovely event. We were visiting from Cleethorpes and had an excellent time." (RW)
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This week there were 37 first timers and 33 new PBs – well done to you all. A big shout out to our first finisher this week – James Bryant – who was one of those to achieve a new PB, and to our last finisher – Jemima Yeats-Brown (tail walker) as a first timer.

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This week's event was made possible thanks to our 25 volunteers: Mark SCOTT • Cheryl SACKS • Joseph WATTS • Louise FITZGERALD • Steve BARNFIELD • Suzanne YOUNG • John DYSON • Judy GUEST • Sofia BAGULEY • Gloria RICHARDS • James BAGULEY • Gabriela BAGULEY • Nick FITZGERALD • Richard WOODFIELD • Francis EAMES • Noeline SIMS • Huw JONES • Sheila WILSON • Jeremy FRYATT • Victoria MULLETT • Emily MULLETT • Jemima YEATS-BROWN • Mark DENNISON • Jack NORWOOD • Andrew GRAHAM

Dom (left) on his way to a PB (SB)
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parkrun is not possible without volunteers, and I'm sure many of you will see the same familiar faces each week. It would be great to have some new people stepping forward as volunteers to give some of our regulars a well-earned break. It can be just as rewarding as running, believe me, and you don't even have to give up a run to do it, with roles available before and after the event.

You may have noticed that the results took a little longer than usual to be processed on Saturday. This is because we rely on a 4G dongle to provide our laptop with internet access in the café, and unfortunately this ran out of data half way through the results processing. We put an appeal out for some donations to enable us to purchase a new one and I am pleased to say we have had a fantastic response, so thank you to all who donated. We don't appeal for donations often, but every now and then there are bits of kit that need to be replaced and so it is great when people step forward and help with this. Thank you!

Last but not least, a reminder that our next pacer day is this coming Saturday, and if you would like to volunteer either as a pacer or for any other role, please email royaltunbridgewellshelpers@parkrun.com. And another reminder that we are cancelled on Saturday 8th September as the circus will be monopolising the events field. Have a good week and we look forward to seeing you again on Saturday!'

 

Rouge, Blanc et Bleu

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event 211
4 August 2018

Run Report, including photographs, by Zena Hassell

What will the new month of August bring? Well, the start of the European Athletics Championships for one and more than likely a continuing heatwave...

July certainly has produced a harvest of heat, and I would imagine refreshment and icecream sellers (Dunorlan Cafe included) are rubbing their sprinkle covered hands together. “Just one Cornetto” has no doubt increased to several over the last month! This summer has certainly seen some of the hottest temperatures since RTW parkrun began, even at 9.00am. For the majority of us runners this is probably not our most favoured conditions, however, knowing your limits and keeping hydrated will ensure we all finish the course safely.

Steve Barnfield was this week’s Run Director and welcomed all the runners. Tourist parkrunners choosing a different venue to buy their lollies and Mr Whippy’s included visitors hailing from Bromley, Rugby and Wakefield.

We would like to welcome Amy Dobson who has just started to volunteer towards her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh medal. The DofE Scheme really does help parkruns in recruiting and encouraging new volunteers.

Bronze medalists to the DofE Scheme
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Former Mayor, David Neve, takes the scenic route around town
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Many thanks to Richard Woodfield who, seeing Noeline was on her own for post event closure, kindly volunteered for emergency close down duties to collect the remaining cones and signs out on the course. Pre event set up and post event closure are important roles and can of course be combined with running/walking the 5k. If you can help do please contact us. (Only a tally of 25 is needed for a proud purple volunteer t-shirt!)

All are welcome at parkrun
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Bliss, nearly home 
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The heat won't defeat P1030016
Finally an update regarding Graham Brooks' cheeky dog who inadvertently rained over Noeline's coat last week. All are friends and Graham did the honourable thing of buying Noeline a lovely box of chocolates - was it Milk Tray by any chance?

The Milk Tray Man?
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2 legs good, 3 wheels better!
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This week 184 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 21 were first timers and 22 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 18 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 25 volunteers:

Ross MARSHALL • Joseph WATTS • Jane FENTIMAN • Louise FITZGERALD • Stella BEARD • Steve BARNFIELD • John DYSON • Judy GUEST • Zena HASSELL • Jane ROOME • Nick FITZGERALD • Richard WOODFIELD • Rebecca DELVES • Eve DUBREUIL • Noeline SIMS • Colin RATCLIFFE • Huw JONES • Sheila WILSON • Matthew DUBERY • Victoria MULLETT • Emily MULLETT • Julie MARCHANT • Mark DENNISON • Amy DOBSON • Andrew GRAHAM

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun Results Page.

The male record is held by William LEVETT who recorded a time of 16:12 on 8th April 2017 (event number 149).
The female record is held by Nicole TAYLOR who recorded a time of 17:48 on 21st July 2018 (event number 209).
The Age Grade course record is held by John LOWDEN who recorded 85.21% (18:49) on 19th November 2016 (event number 130).
Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun started on 26th April 2014. Since then 5,508 participants have completed 34,033 parkruns covering a total distance of 170,165 km, including 6,140 new Personal Bests

 

Making a Mark

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event no 204
2 June 2018

Run report/pictures by Richard Woodfield

This week, 1 - 7 June, is Volunteers' Week. It's a chance to say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK. Our parkrun depends 100% on volunteers - this week alone we had 31 different people, from teenagers to aged 75+, volunteer with us. So we thought it would be good to talk to one of our many regular volunteers, Mark Dennison, to find out a bit more about his experience of volunteering. On Saturday I caught up with Mark in the middle of his busy schedule - after his marshalling duties but before he moved on to token sorting in the cafe.

Mark used to be a runner before health issues put an end to that - in fact I was impressed to learn that he had once run the London marathon. Of recent times he would regularly go for a brisk walk on a Saturday morning. As he also knew a few of the people involved with parkrun he thought he would like to cheer them on. He got in touch with RTW parkrun to offer his services as a volunteer, initially for a month in January this year to see whether he and RTW parkrun were suited to each other. The stats tell their own story: by the beginning of June Mark had already undertaken no less than 29 volunteering duties, including marshal (16 times) and token sorting (11).

Mark in action at today's parkrun, first as a marshal and later on token sorting duties
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What does Mark particularly value about volunteering at RTW parkrun?

Mark was made to feel welcome by the run directors and by the supportive team of volunteers. This helped to draw him in at the outset. He thinks that parkrun is well run as an organisation and that it really appreciates the contributions made by volunteers. This includes the simple touches like the reminder email volunteer received beforehand and the thank you email that comes afterwards. Likewise, Mark appreciates the flexibility of parkun's approach to volunteering, valuing the contributions of both those who are able to volunteer regularly but also of those who can only do so from time to time. And he also thinks it's great that there are a wide variety of different types of volunteering role to suit different people's likes and abilities.

What about his role as marshal?

You’ll often see Mark stationed towards the end of the lap just where the path leaves the lakeside to go down the long straight toward the fountain. (This part of the course doesn't seem to have a special name, but you'll probably recognise it from the picture). Mark is particularly enthusiastic about this spot as an excellent place at which to marshal. I hadn't realised it had quite so much going for it - but everything Mark said made good sense!
* good visibility - it's nice to know in advance who's about to come past you. Mark likes to build up the number of regular parkrunners whom he recognises by name and so can give them an extra bit of personal encouragement along the way;
* near lap end - so he can without exaggeration tell any parkrunners struggling toward the finish that they are nearly there and only one last push is needed;
* near Halls Hole Rd car park Mark will still be out marshalling when some of the earlier finishers walk past him on their way back to that car park. So, often people will stop by to have a quick word and to thank him. Meanwhile, of course he also appreciates the waves and "thank you marshals" from parkrunners out on the course.

You’ll not be surprised to hear that Mark thoroughly recommends volunteering at RTW parkrun. I'm sure that all of us at RTW parkrun, not least the many perspiring runners who have had the benefit of Mark's encouragement towards the end of their 5k, are grateful to Mark for his contribution.

If you would like to volunteer, or would like to find out about volunteering, at our parkrun do have a word with Judy our friendly parkrun co-ordinator. Or drop us an email at royaltunbridgewellshelpers@parkrun.com

In other news....

It was a lovely warm morning for the parkrun. Run Director, Noeline, announced a number of new members to the run clubs: Junior 10 - Bethan Chandler, Connor Bourne, Leo Rodney and 50 club: Greg Clark, Annie Galanti. Noeline reminded the parkrunners that next week is the NHS 70 celebration event. This special event sees parkrun events up and down the country teaming up with their local NHS Trust in order to encourage new participants, including NHS staff and volunteers, to come along to their local parkrun to recognise the contribution that the National Health Service has made to the health of the nation over the past 70 years.

Meanwhile, I had decided that it was not a temperature conducive to a fast time, for me at least. So I positioned myself near the boathouse to take pictures of the starters before dutifully trotting back up to the start line to begin my run a couple of minutes later than everyone else.

The start...
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Tailwalkers - Jane and Rosemary - enter the finishing funnel bearing cones. Rosemary (right) at this stage was looking relaxed - clearly unaware that I was about to make her morning considerably more fraught by accidentally picking up her blue running bag instead of my own rather similar looking one!
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As I was about to leave, also looking very relaxed, was a gaggle of parkrunners enjoying refreshments on the cafe balcony. I took several pictures - but the one with Colin standing was the only one where you can (just about) see everyone's face. Sorry Colin!

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This week's stats:
* 234 parkrunners
* 31 volunteers
* 14 first timers to our event (of whom 7 were running their first ever parkrun)
* 29 personal bests

This week's volunteers were:
Adam JEE • Bethan CHANDLER • Colin RATCLIFFE • Croz CROSWELL • Derek JEE • Emily MULLETT • Eve DUBREUIL • Francis EAMES • Geraldine JEE • Jack NORWOOD • Jane FENTIMAN • John DYSON • Joseph WATTS • Judy GUEST • Keelan STUBBS • Kerry FRANCIS-WATTS • Lara JEE • Louise FITZGERALD • Mark DENNISON • Mark SCOTT • Noeline SIMS • Paul HOLLIS • Rachel SADLER • Richard WOODFIELD • Robin BARWICK • Rosemary SUMPTER • Sian DUBERY • Steve BARNFIELD • Valerie STUBBS • Victoria MULLETT • Yolanda WITT

 

The heat is on!

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event number 203
26th May 2018

Run report written by Zena Hassell with photos courtesy of Richard Woodfield & Zena Hassell

Another lovely morning at RTW parkrun this Saturday, but with more humidity than last week. 260 people of all abilities attempted to “chase the pace” behind this week’s volunteer pacers.

“Bibs at the ready”

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This week we welcomed parkrun tourists from Poole and Wiltshire, together with the milestone members - Beatrice Gillard (Junior 10 Club) Amy White, Andrew Smyth and Thomas Price (all of the 50 Club) and Jane Fentiman (25 Volunteer Club). Very well done to you all!

In our world of social media, we can leave views and comments on just about everything nowadays. It is always nice to hear complimentary comments as left by a first timer this week who said “today was my first one- thank you for making it so lovely. It was so well organised and friendly.” I have noticed that the word friendly keeps popping up when people talk particularly about RTW parkrun, long may it continue!

Another comment left by a lady chasing her PB this week was how grateful she was to the 32 pacer who encouraged her all the way to the finish line and helped her smash her PB, great work both of you!

“Pacer 32 with a helping hand”

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“The time sponsored by pacer 28 is exactly 28.00 precisely”

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As I was taking some photos of people heading up the notorious “Heartbreak Hill” I noticed a gentleman with particular pace, so camera at the ready I just managed to photograph him as he went by in a flash, very well done!

“Super-fly guy powers up Heartbreak Hill”

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“A gentlemens agreement @ Canine Corner”

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“Please be seated – a well- earned rest!”

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Reminder – Saturday 16th June 2018 - RTW parkrun is cancelled due to another event in Dunorlan Park. Why not try touring along to a different location to get your Saturday fix. We are lucky that we have several nearby which are easily accessible. (Tonbridge, Bedgebury, Maidstone, Malling, East Grinstead)

This week 260 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 36 were first timers and 40 recorded new personal bests. Representatives of 17 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 30 volunteers:

Amy WHITE • Bethan CHANDLER • Colin RATCLIFFE • David SAWYER • Derek JEE • Emily MULLETT • Francis EAMES • Geraldine JEE • Huw JONES • Jack NORWOOD • Jane FENTIMAN • Joseph WATTS • Judy GUEST • Kitt BAGULEY • Lara JEE • Louise FITZGERALD • Maisie VERNON • Marianne CROKER • Nick FITZGERALD • Noeline SIMS • Richard NASH • Richard WOODFIELD • Robin BARWICK • Stella BEARD • Steve BARNFIELD • Steve BOLTON • Tom CHANDLER • Victoria CAGLAR • Victoria MULLETT • Zena HASSELL

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun results page.

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun started on 26th April 2014. Since then 5,263 participants have completed 32,072 parkruns covering a total distance of 160,360 km, including 5,884 new personal bests.

 

Celebrating RTW parkrun event 202

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event 202
19th May 2019

Run Report written by Zena Hassell with photos by Zena Hassell

“WE HEREBY REQUEST THE PLEASURE OF ALL TO ATTEND ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS PARKRUN EVERY SATURDAY AT 9.00AM”

Just like the Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan, we enjoyed a super Saturday of feel good sunshine which is always most welcome. Dunorlan Park has to be the Jewel in the Crown of RTW without a doubt.

All smiles from the Royals:

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Steve Barnfield took up the reins of the Run Director this week supervising 286 parkrunners. Unfortunately Steve’s dulcet tones were drowned by the increased level of chattering from a few. Please have the courtesy of listening to the Run Director who welcomes new runners, tourists and new club members. I managed to catch that we had visitors from Whitstable. However, apologies that I cannot confirm where the others were from!

We bid a sad farewell to Izzy who has been volunteering with us as part of her Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award. Thank you for all your help over the last six months.

On a positive note we welcomed Klara Waring to the Junior 10 club. Claire Young has joined the 50 club and Martin Moran to the 100 club. Some people have commented to us they have not been mentioned when they achieve these goals. We can only read out new club members for runners that have enrolled with Royal Tunbridge Wells as their chosen event. If you have put Tonbridge then they will call out your name at their event!

This was the second week of the newly diverted course and although there is the initial ascent, the descent is very welcome. Personally on the slopes I try to let myself go and pick up some speed if there is any fuel left in the tank. Whilst the runners are getting used to the different route it would be great to hear from anyone who wishes to marshal around this section. Banter and encouragement are compulsory!

Sowing the parkrun seed early:

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Kids not missing their screen time:

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Quality family time:

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Please remember on 9th June RTW parkrun are hosting a special NHS event, celebrating 70 years of this life saving service. Dame Kelly Holmes started the celebrations last week at the Tonbridge parkrun to raise awareness of parkrun and its positive benefits (physical and mental) amongst NHS staff and patients. If we have any runners who work for the NHS (or know people who do) in any capacity please encourage them to attend our run and ideally dress in NHS attire ie blue clothing, nurses or doctors outfit, mouth masks, hair nets, red crosses on t shirts, bandages .

Reminder - Next week 26th May is Pacer Day. We still have vacancies for pacers over 30 mins. If you do wish to volunteer in this role it is suggested you allow approx 2 mins extra on your normal run time.

parkrun + sunshine = HAPPY:

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“Prince Philip winding his way back to Windsor”:

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This week 286 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 20 were first timers and 44 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 21 different clubs took part.

The event was made possible by 22 volunteers:

Jane FENTIMAN • Louise FITZGERALD • Steve BARNFIELD • John DYSON • Judy GUEST • Zena HASSELL • Nick FITZGERALD • Francis EAMES • Eve DUBREUIL • Noeline SIMS • Isabella SOUTH • Robin BARWICK • Wendy ANDERSON • Victoria MULLETT • Emily MULLETT • Bethan CHANDLER • Tom CHANDLER • Victoria CAGLAR • Yolanda WITT • Angela TYLER • Mark DENNISON • India ERLAM

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun Results Page.

The female record is held by Alice HEATHER-HAYES who recorded a time of 18:51 on 18th April 2015 (event number 50).
The male record is held by William LEVETT who recorded a time of 16:12 on 8th April 2017 (event number 149).
The Age Grade course record is held by John LOWDEN who recorded 85.21% (18:49) on 19th November 2016 (event number 130).

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun started on 26th April 2014. Since then 5,227 participants have completed 31,812 parkruns covering a total distance of 159,060 km, including 5,843 new Personal Bests

 

Diversionary tactics

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event number 201
12th May 2018

Run report written by Francis Eames with photographs courtesy of Louise Fitzgerald

It was a perfect morning for a parkrun and Dunorlan Park looked magnificent in all its May glory as 266 runners, the highest total since last September lined up for the weekly Dunorlan parkrun challenge. And great anticipation too, as Joe Watts, Run Director for the day, announced in the briefing that we would be running a course diversion this week (and for the forseeable future) in order to avoid Quagmire Corner and the Shoewash. The town of Tunbridge Wells is here because of its many springs, but the two springs that have exploded into life this winter to flood the path by the lake and to deepen the quagmire by the wooden bridge are not nearly as welcome as the now beautifully restored brick basin to the right of the final hill up to the finish.

The new course avoids the "quagmire" and "shoe-wash":
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Our good friends at TW Borough Council are going to work to improve the drainage of the boggy bits over the summer to try to cure the problems we have encountered this winter and spring, and so Joe has been pacing out a diverted route to take us round the problem while the work is taking place, and as an alternative route we can use in future winters if we encounter the same conditions as this year and think the ground there needs time to recover. Most people seemed to think it was a good diversion; a little bit more UPHILL of course, but that also means a bit more DOWNHILL to make up for it as well. And dry feet at the finish, a rarity in the past 6 months.

Run Director Joe addresses our largest crowd (so far) of 2018:
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Joe also welcomed MONTY CUNLIFFE to the Junior 10 Club and STEVE BOLTON to the Volunteer 25 Club. Well done and congratulations to them both.

parkrun is a wonderfully simple concept and its success can be seen in the weekly statistics published by parkrun Towers. Last week a record number of 156,054 runners in the UK ran a 5km parkrun or a 2km Junior parkrun, the first time ever that more than 150,000 have run on a single weekend. And they did so at 529 different events, also a record, and 78 more events than there were a year earlier. New parkruns are starting up in the UK at a rate of three every two weeks, all initiated by and run by volunteers. Parkrun could not function without its volunteers and last week 15,096 volunteers across the UK supported and encouraged those 156,054 runners. At Dunorlan Park this week 25 volunteers turned out to set up the run and make sure it all went smoothly.

A big thank you to Fiona SUTTON • Joseph WATTS • Jane FENTIMAN • Louise FITZGERALD • Stella BEARD • Steve BARNFIELD • Judy GUEST • Paul HOLLIS • Steve BOLTON • Nick FITZGERALD • Lloyd COLLIER • Francis EAMES • Eve DUBREUIL • Noeline SIMS • Huw JONES • Robin BARWICK • Wendy ANDERSON • Victoria MULLETT • Emily MULLETT • Bethan CHANDLER • Tom CHANDLER • Yolanda WITT • Maisie VERNON • Mark DENNISON • Jack NORWOOD for their efforts. They always appreciate the thank yous they receive from the runners. If you would like to volunteer at a future event, just talk to one of the volunteers or email us at royaltunbridgewellshelpers@parkrun.com

The finish funnel team patiently await the next finisher:
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parkrun has a very simple code which we ask everyone to follow. Put very simply, it says have fun, be nice to each other, and give way to other park users. At this time of year there are always lots of people out strolling and walking their dogs on a Saturday morning so do keep your eyes peeled and take care to give them space as you run past them. A special mention this week must go to the parkrunner with the Dalmatian which was suddenly and enthusiastically set upon by a loose and overexcited springer spaniel on the downhill at the start of lap 2. He clearly wanted to join the run with us. Well done for avoiding a tangle and maintaining your footing, your equilibrium and your good humour.

As Joe called the timekeepers to order and started the run, at least 30 runners set off for their first parkrun in Dunorlan Park and at least 16 were running their very first parkrun anywhere. It may have been more, because we also had 17 unknowns who didn’t have a barcode and so didn’t receive a time. Do bring your barcode each time you come to make sure you get your run officially recognised.

We also had parkrun tourists from around the country. Notably the QUIXLEY family from High Wycombe, visiting friends here, they have completed 415 runs between them, led by dad GREGG who has run parkrun 277 times.

And SUZANNE TURVEY and TOM PHILLIPS, a couple who breezed in from Cowley in Oxford and both of them were our First Finishers for the day. Wow! And Suzanne just missed out doing a sub 20 minute time, but is still our 12th fastest woman ever at Dunorlan Park at her first attempt. Well done to them and to all of our parkrun tourists and we hope to see you here again soon. And to celebrate the new diverted course, 33 returning runners recorded a new personal best time. Well done to all of them.
You can catch up with all today’s results on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun website along with a full history of the results since we started four years ago and you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

In 4 weeks time on 9th June parkruns all over the UK are helping to celebrate 70 years of the NHS. We hope to be joined by runners from our local hospitals and GP surgeries on the day, and if you are in touch with any of them, do suggest they come along to join us. More and more doctors and nurses are becoming aware of parkrun and the long-term health benefits it can bring, and are “prescribing” parkrun to their patients to help them get fitter and lose weight. More details closer to the day.

Have a good week and we hope to see you next Saturday morning for the next exciting instalment of parkrun RTW.

 

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun #200

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event number 200
5th May 2018

Run report written by Judy Guest. Photos courtesy of Helen Sanson.

After the celebrations of our fourth anniversary last week, this week we celebrated our 200th parkrun. On a lovely sunny morning, 242 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 29 were first timers and 41 recorded new Personal Bests. Stella Beard the Run Director welcomed Amelia Benson to the Junior 10 club, Francine Lereridge to the 50 club and Ali Farrell & Matthew Green to the 100 club. Well done.

Participants make their way over the wooden bridge for their 1st lap:
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This is the first time I have been a Run Reporter in the four years I have been volunteering. I started volunteering after seeing an advert for helpers for parkrun in a local magazine. Living locally I thought I would pop over to our beautiful park and 178 parkruns later, I can honestly say it is an amazing community event, even if you have to wear at least four layers of clothing in the winter months. The realisation that everyone wants to help was put to the test after today's parkrun. After 15 minutes of trying to get the large expandable parkrun flag, reduced to a third of its size to fit into a round bag we felt defeated. We asked for help from the runners still in the cafe and Colin with his engineering background was nominated, sadly it still defeated him. A big thank you goes to Jonathan who saved the day and I can assure you, we will not see that flag again in the near future.

Two regular faces; Mark Scott (170 runs) & Event Director, Joe Watts (177 volunteer occasions):
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Rather than do a run report just based on runners, I want to remind you that anyone can volunteer.

This week our event was only made possible with the support of the volunteers, so if you have never tried it, give it a go. At present there are 10 roles that must be filled each week once the run starts. We always need marshals around the course to cheer everyone on, along with a tail walker. If you want to run, that's not a problem there are still roles for you with pre run set and post run close down, run report writer, photographer and token sorting.

If you would like to help just email us at royaltunbridgewellshelpers@parkrun.com

The event was made possible by 24 volunteers:

Mark SCOTT • Ross MARSHALL • Joseph WATTS • Jane FENTIMAN • Louise FITZGERALD • Stella BEARD • John DYSON • Judy GUEST • Steve BOLTON • Nick FITZGERALD • Rachel SADLER • Francis EAMES • Helen SANSON • Huw JONES • Robin BARWICK • Victoria MULLETT • Emily MULLETT • Tom CHANDLER • Victoria CAGLAR • Yolanda WITT • Angela TYLER • Adrian FERNANDEZ PAREJA • Derek JEE • Jack NORWOOD

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun website.

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun started on 26th April 2014. Since then 5,177 participants have completed 31,260 parkruns covering a total distance of 156,300 km, including 5,766 new Personal Bests.

 

Spring has sprung

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event #198
21st April 2018

Run report written by Joe Watts. Photographs courtesy of Richard Woodfield.

It was a dry, bright and warm morning for the final event of our 4th year of parkrun in Dunorlan Park and with the recent, un-Spring like weather, the conditions in the events field had begun to dry out quite nicely.

This week your Run Director was Francis Eames, who had a number of important announcements to make ahead of the 3, 2, 1 countdown! We welcomed Charlie Percival, Freddie Dexter and William Baxter to the junior 10 club; Bonita Baxter to the 50 club; Chris Metcalfe and Krista Bradford to the 100 club and last but by no means least, Robin Barwick, Colin Ratcliffe and who else, but Francis Eames to the volunteer 25 club. A huge well done to all! Francis also mentioned that next week we are to celebrate our 4th anniversary (more details on this at the bottom of this report) and that the following week (Saturday 5th May), our event will be going ahead due to the Soapbox race event being rescheduled until mid-June.

This week's finishers were feeling the heat:
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This week 248 people ran, jogged and walked the course - our highest attendance since 23rd December 2017. Amongst this number were 13 parkrun tourists, 13 first timers, 13 unknowns and of the returning 209 people a massive 45 recorded new Personal Bests - a sure sign that conditions are improving.

A crowd of 248 people pay attention to Francis' announcements & pre-event safety briefing:
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The event was made possible by 27 volunteers:

Adrian FERNANDEZ PAREJA • Angela TYLER • Bethan CHANDLER • Derek JEE • Emily MULLETT • Francis EAMES • Graham BROOKS • India ERLAM • Isabella SOUTH • Jack NORWOOD • Jane FENTIMAN • John DYSON • Joseph WATTS • Judy GUEST • Louise FITZGERALD • Maisie VERNON • Mark DENNISON • Nick FITZGERALD • Noeline SIMS • Rachel SADLER • Richard WOODFIELD • Robin BARWICK • Stephen ELLIOTT • Steve BARNFIELD • Tom CHANDLER • Victoria MULLETT • Wendy ANDERSON

The scanning and token support team were kept busy this week:
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Finally, a reminder that at our next event on Saturday 28th April, we celebrate 4 years of parkrun in Royal Tunbridge Wells and we have a lot in store for you all! Firstly, we invite you to dress in floral attire (representing flowers to coincide with our 4th anniversary and the season of Spring) for this special occasion. Secondly, proceedings will start a little earlier than usual as we have a guest speaker saying a few words prior to the usual pre-run announcements and safety briefing. Therefore, if this is your first time at our event, please arrive in good time for our "first-timers" briefing at 8.45am.

A team of volunteer pacers will be at hand to provide you with the chance of picking up a new PB and with the course drying out nicely thanks to the recent warm weather, there's even more of an incentive to post a best time!

We will have plenty of post-event refreshments, with sweet and savoury food on offer and there will be our usual anniversary, post-event raffle with lots of exciting spot prizes on offer. Each person who completes the 5km will be provided with a raffle ticket (in addition to their finish token) and once the tail walker has made it through the finish funnel we shall begin picking numbers out of a hat with the lucky winners having the choice of a number of spot prizes.

 

Keep going

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun
Event number 192
10th March 2018

Run report written by Marian Keep with photos courtesy of Richard Woodfield.

A couple of paragraphs about my experience today. Sounds simple enough, but I see the report writer role sitting empty on the roster most weeks, well let’s have a go to give Joe a week off.

Every time I walk into Dunorlan ready for parkrun, it makes me smile. I feel so lucky that we have such a beautiful park for our event, and look forward to seeing my parkrun family, old faces and new.

I’ve got a touch of shyness, but today I enjoyed quite a few people having a chat with me. I was impressed to hear about people who’ve recently completed half marathons, and also that Tom runs as fast as he does without trail shoes. He mentioned a ‘hopefully sliding forwards’ technique. There was also talk of someone running in bare feet, perhaps enjoying the beautifying properties of the mud?

Run report writer, Marian Keep (wearing parkrun apricot) making her way toward the finish line:
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My favourite bit of encouragement today was ‘this is the last bit of mud, so enjoy it’. I think there’s something to that, certainly no point resisting it, may as well see it as an interesting feature, like the hills.

It was Francis’ first go in the driving seat today as run director, and I’d say he did a cracking job - born to wield a megaphone. I like to hear where tourists come from and I think that worked well today - Perth Australia won on distance, but to be honest I also like it when people have come from Tonbridge.

Francis addresses the crowd during his debut pre-run briefing:
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Spring is definitely on it’s way. The ground will be firming up before you know it. So enjoy it now!

This week 165 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 7 were parkrun tourists, 8 were first timers, 5 were unknown (forgotten their barcode) and of the returning 145 people, 9 recorded new Personal Bests on our course. Representatives of 14 different clubs took part.

Full results and a complete event history can be found on the Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun Results page.

The event was made possible by the following 24 volunteers:

Mark SCOTT • Ross MARSHALL • Joseph WATTS • Louise FITZGERALD • Steve BARNFIELD • Judy GUEST • Paul HOLLIS • Matilda WHITE • Marian KEEP • James BAGULEY • Nick FITZGERALD • Richard WOODFIELD • Francis EAMES • Noeline SIMS • Colin RATCLIFFE • Isabella SOUTH • Robin BARWICK • Victoria MULLETT • Emily MULLETT • Bethan CHANDLER • Tom CHANDLER • Julia MATTHEWS • Adrian FERNANDEZ PAREJA • Mark DENNISON

This week's volunteer team:
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